Must Listen: Michael Jordan Talks His On and Off Court Legacy

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Must Listen: Michael Jordan Talks His On and Off Court Legacy

Chicago Bulls

When Michael Jordan speaks, we listen.

The GOAT sat down with long-time NBA reporter, and current member of The Ringer, Jackie MacMullian for a rare interview on his basketball legacy. MacMullian has been profiling some of the most famous to ever play the game for a new podcast series entitled Icons Club. After discussing legends like Dr. J and Magic, it was Jordan’s turn. And the episode didn’t disappoint.

The hour-long podcast is mixed with a number of familiar names that speak about Jordan’s rise to fame. His Airness then pops in and out with his own commentary, elaborating on everything from the immediate success of his Jordan Brand to his notorious on-court demeanor.

One of the most fascinating moments came when Jordan told MacMullian about facing Shaquille O’Neal after unretiring. Shockingly, he admitted to being somewhat intimidated by the big man, but he also explained exactly why that intimidation quickly subsided.

“When I came back from baseball – I don’t know if I ever told anyone this – I’m playing against Shaq. Shaq is the biggest person I’ve ever seen play. You know, in terms of physicality. He was just this big matchup guy when I came back from baseball, so I was somewhat intimidated.

I didn’t really know how to play against him. Do I go at him? Do I stop, [and] I pull up? Do I blah blah blah? So I go right at him. He just knocked me straight to the floor. Then, he reached down and picked me up. I said, ‘nah, he didn’t mean it, he’s a nice guy.’ If he had left and stepped over me … I would have been somewhat intimidated, but his heart is too good. He’s not that type of guy, and it took away some of the intimidation.”

As we’ve all come to learn, Jordan looked for absolutely anything to gain a mental leg-up on his opponents, and it sounds like O’Neal gave him something very early on.

Jordan’s killer instinct seemed to hang with him when he left the NBA court. While we’ve learned of a close relationship between him and Kobe Bryant in recent years, we’ve rarely heard about Jordan lending a helping hand to players around the league. However, according to what the man himself had to say, it sounds like that reputation is changing.

“To be frank with you, I have to be somewhat careful when in dialogue with the players because I am an owner, so I don’t want to feel like I’m tampering …  To me, basketball comes first. I’m a historian and a basketball lover. I will provide information to guys, if you need it. It may cost me something in terms of your team beating my team. I love the game of basketball, and I will give you that information to benefit the game of basketball.”

Whether it be The Last Dance documentary that hit airwaves in 2020 or his surprising hug-fest at All-Star Weekend for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary ceremony, Jordan appears to be more approachable than ever before. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a positive for the game.

Anyway, I highly encourage you to find time for the whole podcast. You’ll get to hear about Doug Collins’ first game as head coach, some thoughts on Jordan’s broken relationship with Charles Barkley, and a whole lot more.

Check it out below: 

 



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.